Having Trouble Choosing A Medical Specialty? A Few Things To Consider

August 29, 2013

Some students know which specialty they want to pursue even before they join medical school, whereas for others this is often the biggest area of concern. How do you which area of medicine is the right one for you? Here are a few things to consider that will help you play to your strengths.

Recognize Your Temperament

This is one of the most important factors to take into consideration when choosing a specialty. If you like to take your time and ponder over things when making important decisions and hate acute situations where you have to make snap decisions, emergency medicine or ambulance training are not for you. Instead, fields such as neurology, pathology and family medicine may be better suited to your disposition.

Recognize Your Skills

Recognizing your skills will help you soar with the right choice and prevent the frustration that is inevitable with the wrong choice. You may be fascinated by the idea of ophthalmology but if you find it difficult to handle delicate objects or work within very small areas, you are going to be very frustrated if you pursue this line. You need to reconsider and choose another line that is within your skill set.

Are You Better Suited For Surgery Or Diagnostics?

In the operating theatre, Jodhpur, India If you like to work with your hands, fixing and building things and doing procedures such as suturing, you will find a surgical specialty stimulating. However, if you prefer to think things through and look for solutions to puzzling cases, it is a better idea to consider a diagnostic specialty. In either case, there are numerous options that you can then choose from. Some of the surgical sub-specialties that you can choose from include neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, urology, ophthalmology, ENT, OB/GYN and more. Diagnostic sub-specialties include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, neurology, radiology, pathology and more.

What’s Your ‘Ugh’ Tolerance?

Spend just one day in the emergency ward and you will likely see it all – lots of blood, gore and more. Can you deal with this day in and day out for the next few years? If these sights make you shudder and go ‘ugh’, definitely cross emergency medicine and surgery off your list. While you will have to deal with blood in almost all medical fields, these specialties involve almost constant exposure to blood and other bodily fluids.

Jack Of All Trades Or Specialist?

Aiming to be a specialist in a particular field is an admirable goal but you have to be realistic about what it is going to take to make it – years of persistence and practice doing the same technique over and over ad nauseum till you have achieved the required level of proficiency. It takes a certain amount of tenacity, patience and focus if you have these traits, there’s absolutely nothing you’ll love better than following this path. On the other hand, if doing the same thing every day is not exactly your cup of tea, you may be better off pursuing specialties such as family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics or neurology, which lend themselves to more variety. One way to make an educated decision about which specialty to do a medical placement at a hospital where you can see what it really is like to work in the different medical specialties.